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Wisconsin's elections agency predicts voter turnout will hit 20-percent for Tuesday's primary.
If the Government Accountability Board hits its mark, more than 870,000 people will come out to vote on August 14th. That would be similar to the number of voters who turned out for the partisan primaries in September of 2010.
Government Accountability Board Spokesman Reid Magney says the board expects two races will drive the turnout, “You know, there is a strong Senate campaign for the Republican side. In southern Wisconsin, southwest Wisconsin, there is a strong primary for Congress on the Democratic side. So we expect those things will bring turnout up. What could bring it down somewhat is that we're having it, for the first time since 1946, in August.”
Some candidates have also expressed concern that because of recall elections, voter fatigue could drive down turnout on Tuesday. Magney says that's possible.
Because of redistricting, many voters will see names they're...

The latest poll from Marquette University shows Tommy Thompson still leading the Republican U.S. Senate primary field. But one in five likely voters remain undecided.

The last time Marquette surveyed likely Republican primary voters, 35-percent said they'd support former Gov. Thompson. That's down to 28-percent in Marquette's August survey. 20-percent say they would back hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, 18-percent prefer former Congressman Mark Neumann and 13-percent back Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.

21-percent of those surveyed remain undecided. Poll Director Charles Franklin says that's unusually high for this late in the race, "We are in the situation where if that 21-percent makes up their mind and breaks hard we could see some shifts between now and Tuesday. But we go into the weekend with unusual levels of undecided voters."

When those undecided voters were pressed to say which way they're leaning, they spread out among all four candidates so that Thompson still leads by a similar margin....

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson says he's the only candidate with the breadth of experience necessary to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate. His supporters agree, but recent polls show Thompson with only a very slim lead over his three opponents.
Thompson, or “Tommy,” as most of his supporters call him, is running on his record as a four-term governor and a former secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. World War II Navy veteran Jerry Stern of Pewaukee says it's Thompson's combination of state political leadership and federal government experience that inspired him to come out to a Thompson rally in Brookfield last weekend. “He knows his way round Washington, and I think this is a real plus because he knows how to handle these politicians in the Washington scene, and therefore you put this package together and I just feel very strongly that at this point in time Tommy's the man that we need to...

Next week, voters will decide a tight four-way U.S. Senate primary race for the Republican candidate who will face Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November. On Tuesday, former Gov. Tommy Thompson got a boost in that race from the man who led the Republican takeover of Congress in the 1990s: Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich joined Thompson for a luncheon in La Crosse on the grounds of a company the former governor once led. The former House speaker says he's endorsing Thompson because he has what it takes to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate in favor of Republicans. “I believe we need a Senator who actually knows what they're doing. The Senate is a very hard institution today. It's been very difficult for either party to get it to work. And I believe that he could reach across the aisle and actually make the Senate effective in way that nobody else in this race could.”
Gingrich says...

Again in Wisconsin this year, a relative unknown is running for U.S. Senate. Eric Hovde is being compared to Ron Johnson. Some GOP voters say this is appealing to them, but the two candidates aren't as similar as they seem.
Usually, candidates tell potential voters what they want to hear. In this case, it was the other way around. Amy Baumle of Thiensville had just spotted Eric Hovde outside the Republican Party booth at the Wisconsin State Fair. After confirming with her husband that was indeed the U.S. Senate candidate, she rushed up to him with a huge smile on her face. The first thing out of her mouth: Hovde would get her vote.
Baumle says she likes the fact Hovde has no political experience, but has a business background. Hovde is a hedge fund manager. Baumle compares Hovde to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who entered office as a relative unknown. That comparison goes only so far, says...

Republicans looking for help deciding who to vote for in next week's GOP Senate primary won't get any suggestions from Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.
When Johnson decided to run for U.S. Senate two years ago, party leaders quickly lined up behind his campaign. But Johnson, who will soon be the state's senior U.S. Senator, told reporters in Madison that he won't be endorsing in this primary, “I will be fully supportive of whoever emerges out of it. I've got pretty good confidence in Republican primary voters to make a good choice.”
Johnson says he’s made up his mind who he will vote for in the Republican Senate primary, but he won’t say who he will vote for.
On the primary ballot for Republicans are Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, former Rep. Mark Neumann and former Gov. Tommy Thompson.
Hovde's campaign most closely resembles Johnson's. Both men came out of nowhere politically...

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald is one of the central figures in the political folklore that grew out of the battle over Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill. Among Democrats, he's a villain, an example of unchecked power gone wrong. But when Republicans are telling the stories, Fitzgerald is one of the heroes.
His moment came when the Assembly was about to vote on the bill. The capitol was packed. Loud. Tense. Fitzgerald took the rare step of adjourning for the weekend.
When lawmakers came back, Fitzgerald stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his GOP members to deliver a message, “There's been a lot of protesters here throughout the week. I'm sure there'll be here for the rest of the week. But I'll tell you, the best thing I think happened for us over the weekend is us getting a chance to go back home to our districts and listen to our constituents. And I'll tell you, it was overwhelming the people...

One of the national Tea Party groups has endorsed Mark Neumann in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

The Tea Party Express says it's backing former Congressman Neumann, and will soon air a TV ad for the candidate. The Tea Party says it will also bring a bus to Wisconsin to use at community rallies and as a phone bank. Chairwoman Amy Kremer says Neumann is a true conservative who will protect constitutional freedoms, and as a home builder, Neumann is a businessman who knows how to create jobs. Kremer also says Neumann isn't afraid of attacking spending in Washington.

Kremer won't say if she considers Senate candidate and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson as part of that good old boy network.

Senate candidate Eric Hovde points to his backing from another Tea Party group. Thompson and Hovde have led most polls for the Republican Senate primary, but there appears to be a large...

A vote Wednesday in the U.S. House to extend Bush-era tax cuts and not drop the tax for people making more than $200,000 a year is drawing a line in the sand between Democrats and Republicans.

Freshman Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Weston voted to extend the tax cuts, “My colleagues in the other party, they are not proposing tax increases to reduce the debt. They’re proposing tax increases to spend more money. They want to spend more!”

His Democratic challenger former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls says by keeping the tax cut for the highest income earners, they’re not walking the deficit reduction walk, “So it’s nothing but hot air to talk about deficit reduction when you won’t vote for a non-partisan debt reduction package in order to protect tax breaks for the top 2%. That’s the wrong priority.”

Kreitlow says the vote just before the five week August recess begins means another...

Here and Now

With just over a week until the August 14th primary, Marquette University Professor Charles Franklin checks in on the U.S. Senate race to replace outgoing Herb Kohl.

The Republican candidates for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat all say they support Israel, but they've offered varying levels of specifics about how to handle security threats from Iran and Syria.

Among the Republicans running for Senate, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald leaves perhaps the most room for interpretation when it comes to how he would handle tensions in the Middle East, "I would stand behind the Israeli, they have been our allies for a long time. And I think it's a very dangerous part that we should do whatever we can to maintain that safety in the Middle East."
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson says the U.S. has to stand by Israel and says Iran is dangerous, "If they get a nuclear bomb, they will close down the Gulf of Hormuz. Gulf of Hormuz is where all the oil comes from. It will strangle the world."

Thompson says sanctions should have been placed on Iran much earlier...

Gov. Scott Walker says the Republicans running for U.S. Senate should focus on the differences between themselves and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. But Walker is staying out of the contentious race.

Walker said shortly after he won his recall election that he would act as a referee in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. The governor was asked Tuesday whether he'd seen anything out of bounds, "I haven't dropped a flag yet, but it's getting pretty close."

Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, former Congressman Mark Neumann and former Gov. Tommy Thompson have all run TV ads attacking at least one of their opponents and the three men sparred during a candidate debate this week. Thompson has attacked Hovde for living in Washington, D.C. for 24 years. Hovde has questioned Thompson's conservative credentials.

But even as the race grows increasingly negative, Walker declined to call out any of the candidate, "To me, the biggest thing that would be out...

As the Republican race for U.S. Senate grows more contentious, GOP Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald has decided to stay above the fray.

Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, former Congressman Mark Neumann and former Gov. Tommy Thompson all mixed it up during a Republican U.S. Senate candidate debate Monday. Hovde and Neumann were especially aggressive, at one point forcing the moderator to cut them off.

Notably absent from the sparring was Jeff Fitzgerald. While the other candidates used nearly all of their allotted rebuttals to hit and hit back, Fitzgerald took a pass.

Fitzgerald said he always thought the race would develop this way. He calls himself the Walker conservative in the race, having carried Gov. Scott Walker's agenda in the legislature, "You know, it's a good, positive message. And the more these guys try to beat up on each other, I think a lot of people take a second look at me and say this is...

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson and former Congressman Mark Neumann formed an unlikely alliance Monday, as both men attacked hedge fund manager Eric Hovde at a Republican U.S. Senate candidate debate.

This race has featured negative TV ads for several weeks now. Monday, the candidates attacked in person, though Thompson and Neumann largely left each other alone to go after Hovde. Thompson highlighted Hovde's long residence in Washington, D.C., "Eric Hovde hasn't lived here for 24 years and hasn't voted here in 24 years and now wants to be the United States Senator."

And Neumann attacked Hovde on Thompson's behalf for saying recently that Thompson would have a hard time understanding the economy and financial markets, "Eric, if you'd been in Wisconsin for the last 24 years, you would have learned to respect our governor, Tommy Thompson. And I understand that campaigns are very difficult things, but last week when you questioned his intelligence I think it was over...

The state Senator who earlier this week left the Democratic caucus has returned, calling his dispute with the Senate Democratic Majority Leader "a little squabble."
Janesville Senate Democrat Tim Cullen held a joint press conference with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Mark Miller to announce Cullen's return. He left in the first place because of a dispute over committee assignments. Cullen didn't like the committee chairmanships given to him by Miller and pushed for something different. Miller pushed back and gave him no committees. Cullen said he felt disrespected.
Friday, Miller and Cullen announced that Cullen would chair two new committees--one on mining and one on venture capital. Cullen said it was good to feel appreciated, "This happened and this little squabble got public. That's because I guess we're Democrats. But we Democrats solved it and we solved it relatively quickly. And I couldn't be happier with the outcome, I couldn't be happier to be back in the caucus...

Conservative rock icon Ted Nugent stumped for former Gov. Tommy Thompson's U.S. Senate campaign Thursday, calling Thompson his "hero" and calling President Obama "a Chicago gangster."
Speaking to a few hundred people at a Sturtevant banquet hall, Nugent said he couldn't be prouder than to stand with Thompson, "He's not a politician. He's not going to be just an elected official. He's a warrior. He will take on these politically correct, brain dead, soulless liberal Democrats and he will cause them much pain and suffering."
Nugent, an outspoken hunter and gun enthusiast, said Thompson understood the 2nd Amendment, "He knows that the right to keep and bear arms can only mean one thing. Keep means it's mine and you can't have it. Bear can only mean one thing--I've got a couple on me right now and they're loaded."
Nugent was recently interviewed by the Secret Service after saying that he would either be dead or in jail...

Here and Now

Reporter Zac Schultz talks with U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde, one of four Republican primary candidates vying to take over outgoing U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl's seat.

Here and Now

Reporter Zac Schultz talks with U.S. Senate candidate Mark Neumann, one of four Republican primary candidates vying to take over outgoing U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl's seat.

Here and Now

Reporter Zac Schultz talks with U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, one of four Republican primary candidates vying to take over outgoing U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl's seat.

Candidates and interest groups spent nearly $81 million, combined, in the failed effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
The $80.9 million spent on the recall was just for the governor's race. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Director Mike McCabe says that if you add in what was spent on state Senate recalls this summer and last, the total jumps to nearly $138 million. “We saw spending and fundraising records galore fall in these state Senate recall elections in 2011, and of course fundraising and spending records again set in the governor's race, too. So money screamed in these elections.”
The leading spender was Walker himself, who poured roughly $36 million dollars into his recall victory. The next biggest spender on the Republican side was the Republican Governor's Association, which spent $9.5 million.
On the Democratic side, the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund led the way, spending $5.3 million attacking Walker....

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